Suzuki in America has been successfully sued for $US12.5 over a motorcycle crash caused by a brake failure which was later the focus of a global safety recall.
Rider Adrian Johns crashed his 2006 GSX-R1000 in 2013, shattering his spine, breaking his back and leaving him with mobility problems which ended to his postal career.
He had sued for $14m, but after a three-week trial, a Georgia jury awarded $10.5 million to Adrian and $2m to his wife, Gwen. The jury found 49% of the responsibility for the crash was due to rider error.
Adrian claimed his crash was caused by a front brake defect that Suzuki knew about months before his crash, yet did not warn its riders or issue a recall notice.
Two months later, Suzuki in the USA recalled 200,000 various GSX models made between 2004 and 2013.
Suzuki Australia recalled the GSX-R1000 and some other GSX models in 2013 and again in 2015 over the same brake issue involving a fluid leak in the front master cylinder.
Adrian’s lawyer, Randy Edwards, said it was the “worst failure-to-warn case, not that I have ever seen, but that I have ever heard of”.
“This is like a landlord not telling a new tenant that your heater spits out carbon monoxide, and a family dies the first night. This is outrageous.”
The defence counsel said the rider had changed his mind about the cause of the crash after immediately blaming a patch of gravel.
However, skid marks, the evidence of a crash reconstruction expert and post-crash brake testing proved the brake failure caused the crash.
Two other crash victims who rode Suzukis also gave testimony that the same thing had happened to them.